My Week: Nick Rhind of CTI Digital

Monday

I love Mondays. Usually, I have two hours in the morning with sales and production to run through current and new projects. However, this time I’ve had two weeks holiday with almost no contact, so I’m expecting a long day of updates. I’ve got a great team behind me, but at the back of my mind I’m sure someone must have needed me.

I’m in the office for 8am. The meeting with the production team goes more smoothly than expected. While I was away the team had solved issues, recruited, brought in new procedures and the moved the business up a notch. I was a bit gutted that everything had gone so well without me to be honest, but I was also very proud of my team. We had won two Drupal projects through G-Cloud and had several contracts renewed which is great news – our targeting of Government contracts has paid off.

In the afternoon, it’s decided that I will help to recruit another three developers as the other directors are busy with new projects and don’t need the distractions that recruitment always seems to create.

Tuesday

Busy day. On arrival, I’m bombarded with issues regarding our impending office move from the contractors, landlord, fit out company, etc.

I’m beginning to regret my decision to take on the office move myself, but you can only learn from your mistakes! In my defence, I just didn’t want the ‘standard’ office. I wanted somewhere that my team could be proud of, with different areas to work in depending on their mood, a place to inspire and motivate.

The latest issue is that the alarm guys can’t get access, as the contractors won’t allow it, totally delaying our move. I’ve been through a theft and a fire in the last 10 years so I don’t intend to take any chances with our insurance! Not a great day so far. It’s thrown me off track.

I had hoped to sit with the finance team and get our month-end closed off and our financial quarter results complete. We like to get our results out to the shareholders promptly to inform our monthly meetings. I’ll have to delay this until next week as I anticipate the next few days will be spent fire-fighting the office move and anything else I haven’t thought about!

Wednesday

Got in bit late today. I have three children and finding time to spend with them can be a challenge. I always think I have the balance right until one of them gets upset that I haven’t taken them to school recently. Now I feel like a bad dad – looks like I need to try and get some earlier finishes in the next couple of weeks. There is no point trying the four-day week, I tried that and I’m too much of a workaholic despite my own team saying I should have more time off!

First thing today is act on a couple of emails I received last night. As the business ran so well without me a couple of staff want to step up more and have more responsibilities. It’s great that I have an ambitious team but I have to get the balance right and decide what happens to everyone else if any changes are made.

Thursday

Interestingly, I’ve had a couple of competitors approach me about future plans. Ironically, we’ve had several people make us a proposition to acquire them this year but the setup didn’t feel right as we’re still in a large growth phase. It was interesting to look at their business and consider how we could takeover.

Not sure if we’re ready for such a burst in the company growth. I think our procedures could take it but it’s more of a worry how the company dynamics and culture would change. We would go from two offices to four overnight and that might be too much to still keep our core team so enthusiastic. Think it’s worth investigating a bit more and seeing what our management team think before moving any conversations forwards.

I always try to ensure that everyone knows what’s happening in the business. I know from previous experience that it’s hard to know where a company is going if you’re not told directly and the rumour mill can kill a company quickly. I’m coming up to our end-of-month meeting so I’ll mention that we’re looking at options to grow through acquisitions as an option but assure everyone that no decisions have yet been made.

Friday

I go to a network meeting on Friday morning starting at 6.45. I find it very grounding as I joined when there were only three of us at CTI and there’s now around 50 plus. It’s good to speak with the other companies there as I can vent frustrations and ask for advice from other members from different industries on their experiences.

It would be great to have more people in digital help companies as in my early years I really struggled. I work with Phil Jones in London as my non-exec, which has been invaluable in our major growth recently, and he has helped me make lots of bold moves and connections. I highly recommend having a non-exec as they have your best interests in mind. I’m hoping it’s something I might move into in the future as I’ve certainly been through a few challenges.

As I got in the office, I was greeted by both my account directors asking if I wanted the good news or the bad news. At first, I can’t figure out if they are making fun or if something’s actually happened. However, it seems we have won two massive Drupal contracts in London, for Greater London Authority and Great Ormond Street Hospital. The bad news was that I said I would take out the pitching team for a steak dinner if we won. I decided to take the entire company out instead since everyone has worked so hard the last few months and were smashing our monthly targets by quite some way.

Busy as ever, but a good week. Hopefully, there’s nothing I need to do over the weekend but read a few contract engagement documents.

Nick Rhind is CEO of CTI Digital, a full service digital agency headquartered in Manchester.

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